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Our Mission: Sport, Development and Peace for a Better World

Asa Saint Clair, President of World Sports Alliance (2019-Present) with Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General (1997-2006) PWC Dinner during World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, January 2018

In 2001 Kofi Annan (1938-2018), then Secretary General of the United Nations, established the Sport for Development and Peace Office as part of the UN. Before stepping down as secretary general in 2006, Mr. Annan declared 2005 as the International Year of Sport. Secretary General Annan recognized the power that sports had on civil society, having been part of the effort to end Apartheid in South Africa through the now famous sports boycott of the country. He realized that sports as a socio-economic development tool can bring about lasting societal changes. The universal language of sports can be a powerful tool to promote peace by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. Its intrinsic values of teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent, as well as the rules of the game are understood all over the world and can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Sports programs permit encounters on neutral territory and in an environment where aggression can be controlled, regulated and transformed into rapprochement and reconciliation between opposing parties.

Sports changes lives and it is in this spirit that World Sports Alliance was formed in partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA/UN-NGO-IRENE), starting in 2006 during the tenure of Mr. Annan as Secretary General of the UN. World Sports Alliance was formally constituted in 2007 during the tenure of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General (2007-2016). World Sports Alliance captures the essence and promotes the values of what Mr. Annan knew so well, that sports can be a powerful agent for positive change in society. While the United Nations Sport for Development and Peace Office was closed in 2016, World Sports Alliance continues to carry the torch of Mr. Annan’s legacy as it relates to Sport for Development and Peace and the numerous benefits that come with it. World Sports Alliance continues to fulfill the legacy of Kofi Annan by using the power of sports to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on a worldwide basis. Click here to view origins of World Sports Alliance on the year 2006 books of UNECOSOC (see page(s) 212-213 & 227-228).

Sports Defined: A Fundamental Right

In 2003, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace defined sport, for the purposes of development, as “all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games.” In 1978, UNESCO described sports and physical education as a “fundamental right for all.”.  However, that right has not always been afforded to everyone. It is a generally accepted principle that sports provides multiple benefits as it relates to human development both physically and mentally. By not empowering all of the world of this fundamental right to play sports, we may well be overlooking the next great world leader, scientist, artist or any other number of beneficial players to society at large. It is in the name of humanity that these core principles have been officially adopted by World Sports Alliance Intergovernmental Organization as a guiding beacon in fulfilling its global mission.

Sports: A path to Social Mobility

Throughout history, sports has been a great social mobility tool. The original Olympic Games, dating back to 480 B.C., saw its participants come from many walks of life. Through competition, a low ranking member of society could raise their standing, as champions were held in high regard. Centuries later, this cultural phenomenon has only expanded. As the commercialization of sports has grown and the budgets have gotten bigger, so has the adulation placed on successful athletes. Being a successful athlete, even at the amateur level, can reap great benefits on competitors. The ability to travel and make contacts with people of influence can have a profound effect on the overall life trajectory of a young athlete. World Sports Alliance’s global mission embodies young people raising their standing in society through sports. Whether it is an education opportunity, sports related employment or even playing at the professional level, World Sports Alliance is committed to helping raise the social status of young people through sports.

"Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth...

these are one and the same fight. Solutions to one problem

must be solutions for all."- Ban Ki-moon

 Economic Development through Sports

The Potential Output of a given economy can best be defined as the highest level of real Gross Domestic Output that is sustainable. In an underdeveloped economy, Potential Output has not been maximized and deflation takes place as producers continue to lower prices as a means to survive. This leads to a cycle of poverty that continues to plague many underdeveloped countries.

Development through sports provides a near-perfect economic ecosystem, by producing jobs, as well as the mobilization of resources and capital. The three key components to economic development are communications, energy and logistics, which usually leads to innovation through technology. Innovative technology is a key factor in maximizing Potential Output of a given economy.  Knowing that poverty causes a wide variety of problems within civil society, World Sports Alliance as an economic development tool seeks to address the eradication of poverty worldwide, as well as the full implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Peace through Sports

Sports binds humanity in a unique way that no other activity can compare to. Through sports, people from all over the world can put aside their differences and find mutual respect for each other which is the basis for sustainable peace. There is an inherent quality among humans, almost magical,  that surfaces when we see another person truly give their best efforts. When we compete against another person and give our absolute best effort; win, lose or draw, this activity changes us in a fundamental way that makes us better people.

World Sports Alliance’s global mission is to encapsulate these human values in order to benefit civil society. By defining, systematizing and then duplicating these positive aspects of humanity, World Sports Alliance is in a position to utilize sports to its highest and most valuable degree. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) gives World Sports Alliance a framework to define what it is to be a good “sportsperson”. When society has truly undertaken the task of fully implementing the SDG’s, long term peace is a natural by-product.

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